Nashville Travel Guide

USA  #11 in Best Foodie Cities in the U.S.
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Nashville Area Map

Neighborhoods

Nashville is situated on the Cumberland River, which runs from east to west, and the city's expansion has been defined by the river's many bends. Downtown Nashville is organized on a grid with avenues running parallel and streets running perpendicular to the river, making the city fairly easy to navigate by car. To get a more in-depth look at Nashville's neighborhoods, sign up for a guided tour.

Downtown Nashville is home to the state capitol and tourist attractions like the Tennessee State Museum, the Tennessee Performing Arts Center and the Country Music Hall of Fame. The District, a smaller neighborhood within downtown Nashville, has it has developed into a lively nightlife hot spot with plenty of trendy restaurants, bars and nightclubs. The Ryman Auditorium (which once housed the famed Grand Ole Opry), Wildhorse Saloon and Tootsie's Orchid Lounge are some of The District's most popular spots. You'll find a handful of top hotels in this area and around the perimeter of The District, but rates at these properties will be more expensive since they're positioned so close to the city's top sights.

Situated across the Cumberland River from The District and downtown Nashville, East Nashville has experienced a renaissance over the past few years. This neighborhood exudes a laid-back vibe and is home to funky bars, trendy restaurants, quaint coffee shops and cute boutiques. East Nashville is also home to Nissan Stadium, where the NFL's Tennessee Titans play.

If you venture south of downtown Nashville, you'll find yourself in the Gulch. Once a deserted industrial area, the Gulch's abandoned warehouses have been remodeled and now house some of the city's hottest real estate, as well as upscale hotels, restaurants and clubs. Two Gulch streets that have also experienced a revival are Eighth Avenue South and 12th Avenue South, both of which are now home to boutiques, cafes, gyms and restaurants.

When you see a 40-foot-tall Musica sculpture of nine bronze nudes sitting west of The District, you'll know you've hit the West End, home to Music Row. Recording studios and record labels fill the area's buildings – old, restored homes and sleek, modern structures – and as a result, the area is often crawling with singers and songwriters. A few blocks northwest on West End Avenue is Elliston Place, home to some of Nashville's loudest and liveliest nightlife spots, which are often frequented by students from nearby Vanderbilt University.

Located south of the West End is the suburb of Brentwood, home to the best shopping centers in town. As well as two large shopping malls, this suburban district – which offers sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of downtown Nashville – also features a number of factory outlet centers. However, public transportation is scarce. Visiting Brentwood can be difficult unless you have your own set of wheels.

Further south of Brentwood is the picturesque suburban town of Franklin. Driving down Main Street is like driving through a painting, since Franklin has maintained its southern identity and has become renowned for its numerous antique shops and homey cafes. Like Brentwood, Franklin does not have a reliable public transportation system, so a car is necessary to get here.

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